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Parents Spot Missing Son in Cold Weather News Photo

Image: Nicholas Simmons, 20, of Greece, N.Y.,  warms himself on a steam grate
Nicholas Simmons, 20, of Greece, N.Y., warms himself on a steam grate with three homeless men by the Federal Trade Commission, just blocks from the Capitol, during frigid temperatures in Washington, on Jan. 4, 2014. Jacquelyn Martin / AP

A man missing since Wednesday was found by his family after this photo appeared in the pages of USA TODAY.

Nicholas A. Simmons, 20, disappeared from his family's house in a tiny upstate New York town New Year's Day. Four days later, a photographer with the Associated Press documenting the bitter cold in Washington, D.C., took Nicholas' photo as he warmed himself on a steam grate just a stone's throw from the U.S. Capitol.

Paul and Michelle Simmons — Nicholas' parents — saw the photograph of their missing son in the Sunday edition of USA Today. After authorities intervened, the parents reunited with Nicholas in Washington later that day.

"It was pure dumb luck how all this happened," said Sgt. David Mancuso, the lead investigator. "It's truly a miracle."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.